Due to his Autism, Josh struggles with sensory overload and anxiety over new places and new routines. As a result, being in a new and public environment doesn't work so well for him. Our attempts to have him in this kind of environment usually end up in an embarrassing meltdown and humiliating drama. As a result, we typically don't bring Josh into community settings, and it's not for the lack of trying. Every so often, we build up the courage to give it a shot only to be discouraged and disappointed when it didn't go so well.
We got convicted about preventing David from experiencing community outings because of his brother, so we started doing family events with just the 3 of us leaving Josh with a home health aide to care for his needs. Even though, Josh never really seemed bothered by it or left out, we always felt so guilty having fun without him and feeling his absence deeply.
Since Josh has been doing so much better as a result of our wellness journey and use of essential oils, we decided to test the limit. We had been doing a few small-scale outings with the assistance of a home health aide and having an easier time of it, but the outings were not huge events. We decided to press the limits this past Friday and have a family dinner at a Turkish restaurant in Philadelphia then attend a String Quartet concert at the Kimmel Center. The concert started at 8:00 p.m., which is Josh's bed-time, and usually, he doesn't do well if we mess with that, so this test was huge in many respects.
I am so excited to announce that the evening was a HUGE success! Josh didn't have any meltdowns. We had a close call in the middle of the second musical piece when we prevented Josh from lying on the floor during the concert, but he was able to use his coping skills and pull himself together without creating a huge scene. He loved the outing and has remarked several times how much fun he had and that he wants to do something like that again! It's great for his confidence to know that he can have a successful outing also. A second test was the next day because of the extremely late night. We got home shortly after 11:00 p.m. Friday night (of course, Josh slept the whole way home). When Josh doesn't go to bed at 8:00 p.m., his behavior is usually terrible the next day. However, on Saturday, he had a great day despite the many chores (another angst)!
We are praising the Lord for His work in Josh's life and giving our family the chance to be whole and enjoy quality and memorable time together doing special things in the community! We pray that we will have many more happy and memorable outings.
|Waiting for the concert to begin|